Deadly Premonition is a divisive game. Those who love it embrace its absurdity. Those who don't, well, many tend to hate a game where the normal course of events sees a man in a gas mask ordering a turkey, strawberry and cereal sandwich.
You don't have to take our word for it. The 2012 Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition gave Deadly Premonition an award for the "Most Critically Polarizing Survival Horror Game," citing review scores that ranged from 2 to 10 out of 10.
That was 2010. In 2012, the game's creator, Hideteka "Swery" Suehiro, has teamed up with publisher Rising Star Games to remake Deadly Premonition for PlayStation 3. Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut will bring refined controls, higher resolution graphics coupled with redrawn art assets, and an expanded story. Swery knows that Deadly Premonition is a polarizing game, and he told Polygon in a recent interview that his role in creating The Director's Cut is twofold: to satisfy those who loved the cult classic original and to attract new fans with new features.
Swery began his career at SNK in 1996, and founded Access Games in 2002, where he began his directing career with Spy Fiction. When he began working on Deadly Premonition, an open-world survival horror game, he didn't foresee the challenges in creating a game where henchmen talk in rhyme.
"I didn't think it was a quirky idea when I got to the development," he said. "The initial thought was to bring a new idea to the market while also creating a game that we all really wanted to make and play. Then we designed and developed it. Ideas came from my own experience with both friends and various entertainments, including: movies, drama, theatre, novels, music, or magazines."
But problems arose first during development. He credits Tomio Kanazawa, who co-produced Deadly Premonition with him, and Yasuhiro Wada, then-president of the game's publisher, as his protectors.
After Deadly Premonition shipped, the first review he saw gave the game a 2 out of ten, which shocked and confused him, he said. But following that initial review, he started to receive "tons of emails and tweets" from fans.
"Luckily, I had strong friends who believed that this game will be great and it has been a big factor in the success of this project," he said.
"That's when I realized what I had accomplished," he said. "Eventually, the game started seeing more and more positive reviews and awards, as you know, and now we are here."
Here, for Swery, is working on Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut. He told Polygon that he tends to move on mentally and physically after he's shipped a game. He's bringing that mentality to The Director's Cut, which he's treating as a new project, in part designed for those who didn't play the original.
"I didn't think it was a quirky idea when I got to the development."
That new project began at the end of 2011, when Tomio Kanazawa, a senior producer at Rising Star Games, and Martin Defries, Rising Star's president, sent him an email asking if he'd like to "reboot" the game. Since Deadly Premonition's release — which only came to the U.S. on Xbox 360 — he'd received requests from fans for more content, and he accepted.
He began by making a list of improvements he'd like to make. It grew to 150 items, most of which he said will be integrated into The Director's Cut. On the very first day that the development team assembled, they began by deconstructing what worked in Deadly Premonition and used that as a foundation to build upon.
"We found some clues in the meetings and made a list on points to change and points not to change," he said. "Particularly, we focused on how much we should add to the story. I received so many emails mentioning the story and most of them are 'the story is outstanding.' That's been great pleasure for us. However, Deadly Premonition is a video game and we make much of the experience about gameplay, so the amount of gameplay to add to the story was an important point during our discussion."
Swery said that having so much user feedback is an advantage when remastering a game. Of particular interest are the controls, which frustrated some players. They have "changed hugely," in The Directors Cut, he said. Though he said it was difficult to explain, he mentioned that PlayStation Move controls will help with gun battles.
His hope is that he can satisfy both fans of Deadly Premonition and those who haven't played the quirky open-world survival horror game.
"I invite them to please hold the tag team with [the game's protagonist, FBI Agent] York again and solve this strange and sad murder case happening in the mysterious town called Greenvale," he said.
"I love you all," he said.